Best Electric Fence Fault Finder & Tester of 2019
Electric fencing setups can be very expensive, especially if you have a large pasture or field that you want fully electrified. Once you have your fence powered up with a charger, you’ll want to make sure that the electric fence is working and giving out the correct level of shock. Being sure that your fence is live gives you peace of mind that your animals are contained and protected.
One thing that you DON’T want to do is test the fence by hand and give yourself an unnecessary, and potentially dangerous shock. The best way to do this is by using a special fault finder or tester. These handy devices are used much like a car diagnostic kit, where you can connect them to the electric fence, and they will display any problems or faults. We went ahead and researched the 3 best electric fence fault finders and testers that you can buy, check out our findings below.
Top 3 Rated Tester Comparison Table
The Best Electric Fence Testers & Fault Finders
#1. Zareba Fence Doctor
Probably recognized as the top electric fencing manufacturer from North America, Zareba have been involved in electrical fencing setups now for over 70 years. Zareba offers everything you would possibly need to setup, maintain or upgrade your fencing system. It’s no surprise that their Zareba Fence Doctor is our recommended choice for finding faults and testing your electric fence system. It only weighs 8.8 ounces and is powered by a 9-volt battery, as well as having water-resistant casing.
Although fault finders generally don’t have a lot of features, the clear indicator lighting that shows the short current is impressive. Some testers that you find just display the current and short voltage on the screen which can be hard to read, however, this model has a lit screen and colored indicators which show the direction of the fault clearly. It’s a very effective tester that isn’t too big or small, fitting in most hand sizes comfortably.
It is the most expensive pick on our list, however, I feel that the price is justified considering how effective it is, and how clearly it displays any faults discovered. One thing that does let this purchase down, however, is the documentation that comes with it. The instructions are not very clear, though a quick watch of a YouTube video of it in action will have you testing in no time.
Verdict: Best Readings and Display
- Clear screen and indicator lighting
- Good, comfortable size for holding
- Water resistant case
- Durable unit
- Included documentation poor
#2. Gallagher G50900 SmartFix Fence Tester
My second choice comes from the popular New Zealand electric fencing manufacturer Gallagher. Gallagher have been involved in the electric fencing scene now for over 80 years, and the one thing that is evident in user reviews from all their products is that they design quality products. This is their flagship fault finder and tester, and in line with the rest of their products, it is a purchase worth considering if you want to keep your electric fence healthy. The G50900 displays the current and short voltage with indication arrows on its screen. Weighing in at only 7.4 ounces, this Gallagher fault finder has lots going for it.
This is another solid pick, and the only reason I placed it behind my #1 choice was that I felt the screen and indicators weren’t as clear as my top pick. In terms of performance, it matches up fairly evenly with my best electric fence fault finder pick. No buttons need pressing to use the tester as it automatically turns on when a pulse is detected, and off when you stop touching the fence with it. The battery life is another positive for the G50900, as it is designed to last up to 3 years before the battery needs to be replaced. It has a handy low battery indication feature that lets you know when your battery is about to run out, this is fairly useful if you use your fault finder frequently. This is also the least expensive choice on my reviews list, which is surprising considering what it offers and the fact that Gallagher have manufactured another quality product to add to their range.
As mentioned above, one thing that holds this back from becoming the #1 choice is the screen. I felt that the screen could sometimes be a little hard on the eye and wasn't as clear as it could be when indicating shorts and faults. I would also have liked the screen to have a backlight so that it could be read in low-light conditions.
Verdict: Great Features and Battery Life
- Long-lasting battery life
- Manufactured with quality
- Handy on/off and battery indication features
- Fairly priced
- No backlit screen
- Not as clear at displaying faults and shorts
Another manufacturer that comes from the booming land of agriculture - New Zealand, Speedrite is another competitive player in the electric fencing market with over 80 years of experience in the field behind them. They, like the other manufacturers mentioned in this list, sell the whole a-z for electric fencing systems, so let’s have a look at their digital fault finder model. Like the other picks, It sports a water-resistant case, however, it is a little heavier than the other models weighing in at 11.2 ounces and has a 9-volt replaceable battery.
The fact that the Speedrite can compare current readings with previous ones makes it a great pick for picking up any new faults. As well as displaying current and short readings on the screen, it also has an audible indicator that makes a different beeping sound when a fault is found. It’s an ideal size for most hands sizes and provides a comfortable grip. A belt clip is also included in the purchase which is handy if you have a long fence that you have to walk to when trying to get a reading.
Having to keep your finger on the button when doing your electric fence checks could potentially be annoying for some people if you have to do a lot of checks. Although the audible feature is handy for some people that may find it a little harder to read the screen, it would be nice if the tone of the beep changed in accordance with the reading.I will admit that this is another pricey pick and doesn’t come cheap, but if it fits your needs and will save you time when diagnosing fence faults, then you should look into the Speedrite model further.
- Audible current indicator
- Handy belt clip
- Good hand size
- Allows you to compare current with previous readings
- Need to keep holding the button
- No backlight on the screen
- A little pricey
- Audible feature could be improved
What Makes a Good Electric Fencing Fault Finder or Tester?
Easy Screen Readings
The screen ideally should be large and clear, so that any readings the tester produces are easy on the eye. Some screens are harder than others to read, with some being difficult to read on really sunny days, and others not having a backlight that allows you to see the screen in low-light conditions. Check out the screen sizes and dimensions of any model via the manufacturer's page, or, check out a review on YouTube first to get a better idea.
A device should be comfortable and easy to grip, especially if you have miles of fencing to cover. It should also be the case that the unit keeps your hand as far away as possible from the electric fencing when testing for faults.
Battery Life and Ease of Replacement
Each model has a different battery installed in it, some lasting longer than others. Most fault finders you come across on the market have replaceable batteries, but some are actually quite tricky to remove and replace. There are whole videos dedicated to the changing of batteries for some models out there, this isn’t ideal, especially if you do regular testing on your fence. The battery life that each model has can be found on the manufacturer page, though the best thing to do is check real user reviews for how long their batteries actually lasted.
Weather Resistant Case
All the models we reviewed have water-resistant casing and can handle a little water splashed over them no problem, but it has to be noted that none of these fault finder units are designed to be submerged or be out in extreme conditions. One thing that you should also look out for is some casing that although declares itself water resistant, will build up condensation inside it, making reading the screen for faults much harder.
These little gadgets for finding faults with your electric fencing are ultimately designed to save you time, and help you identify any faults present as quickly as possible so that you can fix it. They are pricey to buy and a lot of people are understandably put off because of this, but if you have miles of electric fencing on your farm, pasture or ranch, then you can’t afford a half live fence. You don’t have to take our word for it and purchase one of our top 3 fault finder picks, but do save yourself the time and hassle and make an investment in one of these devices, you won’t be disappointed!